Childline is a UK non-profit that provides a valuable, needed service, giving young people a place to call when they need emotional support. It doesn’t let that responsibility take all the fun out of its mission, though, as this video shows.
This catchy, catchy video.
Headbomz is a fantastic tune animated by the fantastic Aardman studios (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep). Even so, it’s making some trouble for Childline. As it turns out, telling under-10s that their heads might explode if they don’t share their problems causes some consternation.
Irish Times covered the complaints, which include concerns from parents and educators.
Galway play therapist Linsey McNelis is also worried about the effects the “vivid images” could have on younger children, on those already suffering from anxiety and those with autism who are inclined to think literally.
“I don’t think it is giving the message that they hoped for,” she says, pointing out that “talking” is not the only answer for expressing feelings. “As a play therapist, I see a lot of children who do not have the cognitive ability yet to talk and sometimes they need other mediums to show how they are feeling.
If you skipped the video, you’re missing lines like, “Your eyes pop out their sockets and they bounce around like balls,” so the concerns may not be entirely without merit.
Childline pulled the ad from movie theaters after complaints, acknowledging that kids who see it and want to talk can’t do so at the start of a 2-hour film. They’ve left it in circulation otherwise, which is why folks are concerned — and it’s also why we get to enjoy it.
However anyone feels about the execution, we can probably agree that the message is important. Here it is, straight from Childline:
“Headbomz describe the indescribable; the things that might make children feel like their head is going to burst. The questions, thoughts, worries or feelings that they don’t quite know how to deal with or talk about. By describing these as Headbomz, we can start more conversations about how to get rid of them.”